As a Mayan archaeological site and downright beautiful place, it’s no wonder Tulum is one of Mexico’s most popular vacation destinations. Tulum is considered a high-end getaway favored by celebrities, digital nomads and influencers. However, for many first-time visitors to Mexico, the question of safety often comes up. The media and news outlets tend to only publish unflattering stories about crime and violence in Mexico, when in reality they are isolated incidents and not aimed at tourists.
When asking, ‘is Tulum safe?’ one has to realize the most important thing to do when traveling anywhere is to use common sense. Dangerous situations are 9 times out of 10 obvious to spot and can therefore be avoided. If you use good judgement, Tulum is a very safe vacation destination.
Is Tulum safe? Yes!
Is Tulum safe to travel to? Yes, it sure is! While Mexico gets a bad reputation for being a drug haven with a high murder rate, in reality this is not the case in coastal towns like Tulum. Here’s why…
- Tulum is an easy-going town and not a big metropolitan city, so violent crime is much less likely to occur here.
- Tulum doesn’t have many big chain all-inclusive resorts. It’s at these big resorts that criminals and scammers have more cover to run their schemes, ranging from drink spiking to excursion scams. Instead the hotels in Tulum are smaller, owner managed and offer a much more intimate experience with nowhere for scam artists to hide.
Much of the crime in Mexico is linked to drugs and cartels. Avoid buying or consuming illegal drugs during your stay, particularly when visiting bigger nightclubs and jungle raves where cartel members and dealers may hang out. Avoid the situation and avoid trouble!
The main road in Tulum, Avenida Tulum, is bustling day and night and is well lit with street lights. The further away from main roads you venture, particularly into deserted side streets and alleyways, the more vulnerable you will be. These roads are generally dark and should be avoided at night. While riding around Tulum on a bicycle by day is the best way to get around, taking a taxi back to your hotel after dark is a much safer mode of transport.
Petty crime is pretty common in Tulum, so remain alert and don’t give sneaky pickpockets a chance to dip into your bags.
Is Tulum safe? With these safety tips in mind, it is.
- Health and travel insurance is a must when visiting Mexico, in case you get ill or injure yourself. Hospitals are expensive for tourists so travel insurance can cover the costs of any medical treatments you need to receive while on vacation. SafetyWing offers excellent medical travel insurance that includes Covid-19 coverage.
- Choose a hotel that follows strict Covid-19 cleaning and sanitation protocols for a germ-free stay and peace of mind.
- Avoid drugs – most violent crime in Tulum is linked to drug-related activities.
- Don’t wander around alone at night, especially in isolated areas.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry or flash around wads of cash, this only makes you a target of opportunistic thieves.
- Don’t overdo the booze unless you have a companion who is sober and can remain alert and avoid drink-spiking incidents while out at bars or nightclubs.
- If you are intoxicated, do not swim in the ocean, pools or any other body of water to prevent drowning incidents.
- When withdrawing cash, do so during the day in a safe area like a shopping mall or supermarket.
- Some scammers hang around on the beach to try to sell you bogus excursions and tours. Once you hand over the cash they’ll disappear faster than you can blink! Always book tours through a reputable tour operator, your hotel can give you recommendations.
- Keep your passport and other valuables locked in your hotel room safe. Keeping a photocopy of your passport on your person is good practice for tourists, no matter where you are visiting.
- Taxi drivers see tourists as wealthy and will often charge you outrageous prices for a ride. Before you climb in, negotiate your rate before the journey to avoid an expensive surprise once you reach your destination!
- Don’t leave your valuables or bags unattended on the beach. This just gives thieves or desperate individuals a gap to make off with your things.
- In the very unlikely event you are cornered and accosted, don’t try to fight them off as you never know whether they are armed or have company. Hand over your belongings, your life is more valuable than any possession.
There isn’t any specific area in Tulum you should avoid going to, however we wouldn’t recommend exploring the residential areas at night. They are dark and secluded because they are still under development, so avoid running into the wrong people at the wrong time. Downtown Tulum is one of the safest parts of Tulum as a hub with restaurants and bars. The streets are well-lit and there are people out and about until the wee hours.
As you’ll have gathered, using common sense to avoid secluded beaches, dark streets or any area that has you peering over your shoulder will keep you far away from unsavory characters and dangerous situations.
Is Tulum safe for kids?
Is Tulum safe for kids? Yup, it’s just as safe as any other popular beach vacation destination. With these practical safety precautions, kids can enjoy a safe and memorable vacation in Tulum.
- As you would anywhere, watch your kids while they’re playing in the water, whether its the sea or swimming pool.
- Cenotes are popular attractions to visit while in Tulum but they can be deceptively deep so stick nearby to kids while in the water.
- Avoid the misery and pain of sunburn by applying sunscreen to your kids before heading outdoors and reapplying throughout the day.
- Spray legs and arms with bug spray or wear bug repellent bracelets when visiting cenotes or at night when they’re out in their dozens.
Follow our practical safety tips and you’ll never have to worry again if Tulum is safe. You’ll be in for a sun-soaked, fun-filled vacation without any trouble.